We hosted a Christmas party for a few of my friends last night. It was fantastic, and one of the most successful parts of the night was the gift swap that we organized. This particular group of friends is very environmentally conscious, so I knew they would be into the theme, which was:
Zero Net Impact Gift Swap
The rules were traditional except for a twist: no buying anything new! Gifts could be 1. something you already had around the house but were ready to part with (a book you’ve read, exercise equipment you don’t actually use) 2. a re-gift (remembering to be sure the original giver wouldn’t be at the party!) or 3. something purchased from a consignment store/Goodwill. I reminded everyone that the people invited to the party are FRIENDS so crappy gifts aren’t appreciated (a risk you run with any gift swap). This might not work with all groups, but these pals are pretty good sports.
It was a big hit! No one had to spend any more money or do any extra errands (although if you were feeling desperate you could have gone to Goodwill I suppose), you got to clean out your closet or get rid of an unwanted gift that made you feel guilty. Someone else got use out of it, and at the very least….we all had a good laugh!
This is an alternative to consider if you are looking to cut back on the superfluous gifts on your to-buy list, if you’re in charge of your office holiday party or if you are a large family looking for ways to cut back on spending. Christmas consumerism can feel stifling, especially when you have to buy gifts without a specific person or need in mind. This is just a small way to reduce your impact while still celebrating and having fun with the people you love.